ST. PETERSBURG — Communities United for Reparations and Economic Development (CURED), the grassroots organization that made its first appearance during the dynamic local electoral campaigns of Akile Anai and Jesse Nevel for city council and mayor respectively, relaunched in the beginning of this month.
At the Uhuru House in Akwaaba Hall, history was made as people filed in to participate in the first organizing meeting chaired by Anai and Nevel, where more than 20 people committed to taking on roles to build a social movement in St. Pete that fights to halt the takeover of the black community with gentrification and police containment.
After the reelection of Democrat Mayor Rick Kriseman, the state of the black community began to deteriorate at an even faster pace. Communities transformed almost overnight as real estate investors strode through with their hard hats and clipboards, buying up all the land on the south side and pushing black people out of our community.
Another historic black neighborhood, Jordan Park, came under siege by the city government, where the Kriseman administration united to raise the entire housing unit, home for many of the city’s elderly black residents. It is an eerily similar case to that of the Gas Plant District, where a baseball dome was built on top of the black community.
It is this violent legacy that CURED intends to end to build on the legacy of black power struggle and resistance. CURED is resolved to build a movement rooted in the leadership of the black working class along with solidarity from white people who are committed to reparations as the center of a genuinely progressive agenda for the future of the entire city.
This organization will serve as the vehicle to transform public policy, bringing power to the people and self-determination to the black community.
CURED’s goals and objectives are directly attached to the electoral campaign platforms of reparations and economic development as a genuine expression of unity with the black community.
A major campaign being launched by CURED is the “Take Back the Dome” referendum, where CURED will be going out to the people of the city to win petition signatures to return the land of the baseball dome, known as Tropicana Field Stadium, back over to the black community as an expression of reparations.
Atop the 86 acres of returned land, we will build affordable housing and economic development institutions that will attract and bring back our displaced communities. With affordable housing units, we stand to alleviate the cost of housing for the entire city.
With the end to gentrification, big money development of downtown; with worker’s power and updated water resources equipment, we begin to resolve the issue of sewage in our water.
With black community control of the police and a public policy of economic development versus a public policy of police containment, we create a genuine future for black children and an end to the murders and brutalization of the black community by the police.
CURED on the ground means finally the black community’s interests will always be at the forefront, in the streets and in city hall, recognizing that ending the oppression of the black community is actually the only progressive stance.
The City of St. Petersburg cannot continue to build high rises and condominiums on top of the black community, plant a rainbow flag in the ground as to mark the gentrified territory, and call itself progressive.
It’s an insult on the word and we have to reclaim it.
The only forward stance is that of reparations to our community and being vehemently opposed to the Kriseman agenda of complete erasure of our people from this city.
CURED is committed to environmental, social, political and labor related justice based on the fundamental principle that only through addressing the longstanding injustices faced by the black community, on whose backs the entire system rests, can any other solutions be achieved that will benefit the people of this city.
Right now, the St. Pete city government is in the business of gentrification.
We have the responsibility to make St. Pete bad for business.
Our platform will be realized. The people will win this fight.
We saw how the electoral campaigns garnered international fame and inspired other candidates to enter the electoral arena on a reparations platform. The slogans of “radical times, radical solutions” and “unity through reparations” galvanized the African working class whose voice was heard in the St Pete election for the first time in decades.
At the height of the campaign last summer, the candidates led a march of hundreds of people, including white people, through downtown St. Petersburg chanting “unity through reparations” in solidarity with the leadership of the black working class. This is the first time this has ever happened, anywhere in the world.
Communities United for Reparations and Economic Development needs you to join and participate in this righteous struggle! Big money politicians no longer stand a chance. The status quo will no longer prevail.